Home Contact Get Involved! Archives Version française
This year, the Quebec City Life Chain was the best since 2006. The weather was perfect, many pro-lifers came to pray silently for an hour, and the police was there to make sure the pro-choicers respected our freedom of expression.
I'm Stefan Jetchick, the Secretary of Quebec Pro-Life, and I'll now try to give you an idea of what happened yesterday.
For the second year in a row, police were there to protect us from the intimidation and threats of pro-choicers. But it was the first time that they confirmed their presence in writing and ahead of time. So we were able to invite everybody, including pregnant women and young children, knowing they would be safe.
So, Captain Jean-Eudes Lachance and all of the police officers you sent, thank you very much for defending democracy and freedom of expression! When women and children feel safe to come to an event in large numbers, you know you are doing your job well!
Overall view of the Life Chain, if you scroll way over to the right!
The biggest news this year was the number of pro-life participants. Every year since 2006, we averaged 20-30 participants. This year we hit 75, and that doesn't include several unborn human persons!
A young grandmother, babies in strollers, a Catholic Priest in his cassock, the eldest daughter of a Protestant Pastor, big brother and youngest brother, etc.
On top of sheer numbers, we also improved our diversity. We had them all: pregnant women, young children, adults, singles and families, people who come to the Life Chain every year, newbies we had never seen, Catholics and Protestants, and even some politicians (among them Mrs. Marie-Claude Bouffard, CEO of the Louis-Hébert EDA for the Christian Heritage Party of Canada).
Some came from Thetford-Mines, but some even came from far away New Brunswick! (Dear pro-lifers from New Brunswick, a very special thanks for coming!)
Pro-choicers enjoying life.
In 2007 and 2008, many pro-choicers showed up and used intimidation and
insults. In 2009, the Quebec City Police showed up too, and the pro-choicers
"magically" started to behave. All they did was shout their slogans
and show their signs. But in 2010, the pro-choicers just showed their signs.
They were so quiet during the whole hour, that we're starting to wonder whether
they've decided to just pray silently for an hour! Maybe they have realized the
effectiveness of our approach!
Even their signs were very calm this year. No personal attacks, no blasphemies. One sign said "Get your prayers off our ovaries". But why do they always mention our prayers, and never mention the invitations we send them every year to an electronic debate where "The first one to invoke a religious belief, loses"? Imagine, if we really were "Bible-thumpers", they would easily win that debate!
Another sign said: "My body belongs to me", ignoring as usual the scientific evidence to the contrary, in the case of pregnant women.
Another sign had a drawing of a coat hanger covered by a big red "X", and below the words "Never again!" Maybe that woman felt guilty about something, and she was repenting publicly? If so, congratulations, Madam! Jesus forgives and heals!
Some of the pro-choice signs.
Every year I make mistakes, and this year was no exception. One of my mistakes was to sink 700$ for a few ads on a local radio (thirty 30-seconds spots, 6 a day, from 6AM to 8PM, Mon. to Fri., the week before the Life Chain). I chose the radio station using a highly advanced space-age algorithm: first, their office is visible when you come out of Très-Saint-Sacrement church, and second, after listening to one of their programs for a minute, I felt like scolding my radio set and sending it off to Confession!
OK, OK, there was some logic to it! First, I figured I should at least try radio ads once in my life. Second, I wanted to reach out to people who never go to church and who are pro-choice, so I carefully avoided the local religious radio station and went instead for a bad station. Third, I thought maybe a really unusual radio spot would catch listener's attention, and maybe even get the attention of some journalists.
Apparently, it was a failure. The spots aired as agreed in the contrat, but our web site statistics showed no increase in traffic, none of the pro-lifers who came mentioned those radio ads, and to make things worse, even the pro-choice counter-demonstration was the smallest on record!
Father Guillaume Loddé
As far as I know, what really pumped up our attendance this year (apart from the Quebec City Police Department, as mentioned above) was Father Guillaume Loddé, who not only announced the Life Chain before each Sunday sermon, for three weeks, but who also, each time, said very clearly: "And I will be there myself". We must not forget Pastor Bernard Westerveld, who as usual took care of spreading the word on the side of the Evangelical Christians (even though he personally was not able to attend for the first time since 2006).
Also, a special mention goes to Mr. Jasmin Lemieux-Lefebvre, Director of Communications for the Quebec Diocese, who kindly passed on our invitation to the "Info-Paroisses", which got us a mention in at least two parish bulletins. (I know that sounds very little, when you consider there are over a hundred parishes in this diocese, but two is infinitely better than zero!)
It's a baby, not a choice!
I think our new banners are really nice. They are more visible than the ordinary signs for motorists who drive by quickly, and they really drive a stake through the heart of the most irrational pro-choice argument ("It's my choice").
Another view of the Life Chain
When I wasn't running around taking pictures or making sure children were not too close to the road, etc., I tried to pray at the "entrance" of our location (where the pedestrian crossing cuts through the curb in the middle of Laurier boulevard). I stood there because that's where obnoxious pro-choicers came from in the previous years, to infiltrate our group and intimidate us.
At while after the Chain had started, I spotted a suspicious young man (unshaven, shabby cloths, empty hands, twenty years or so, etc.) crossing the boulevard briskly. All of a sudden, he turned towards us and made for the curb. I stuck out my arm in front of him to block him, and said: "Are you pro-life? This area is for pro-lifers only". He replied only: "I'm a journalist". Then another guy walked up, much older, just as unkempt in appearance, but with thousands of dollars of telephoto lenses around his neck. "OK, they must be legit", I thought. The older one asked: "Who is your spokesperson?" I pointed out Marie-Chantale Marceau, then explained (as I do every year) "But our hour of silent prayer has started, so we will be happy to answer all of your questions, but after 3 PM". The oldest answered dismissively: "Bah, we don't have time. We'll just do a report about them", pointing to the pro-choicers. So I said: "That's OK, we're used to incompetent journalists".
Small article the next day in the Journal de Québec
You can see in the newspaper clipping here above that they didn't appreciate that! (At the very end of the article, they say: "On the other side of the street, while trying to gather comments, the Newspaper simply had its access refused on top of being called "incompetent".) Well, yes, I called you "incompetent". I'm sorry. But re-read the Press Release we sent you long before this Life Chain:
This year, we'd love to have another first: a competent journalist! Indeed,
year after year, journalists carefully avoid mentioning our invitation to
electronic debate on abortion.
This despite the fact they only need to cross the road to go ask the
pro-choicers why they are afraid of a rational and respectful debate!
Dear beloved journalists, did you ask that very relevant question to the pro-choicers? Or did you protect them again this year? Moreover, did our request to respect our hour of silent prayer violate your fundamental freedoms, because only non-Christians have rights?
Dear beloved journalists, a few words of advice. First, dress like you are on the job, and introduce yourselves politely. Second, try doing a few minutes of research on the event you are going to cover, before you get there. Third, try to behave as if you were actually interested in gathering news! Come to think of it, maybe next time just ask some high-school students to go do your report, and then stick your name on the resulting article. You'll get an afternoon off, and you might even get a raise for "your" excellent work!
Oh dear, after all that, I'll have to go to Confession, again... OK, OK, I'm sorry again. Yes, come to think of it, you probably have an excuse. Actually, they say employees tend to treat the clients, the way the boss treats the employees! If so, ouch! your salary and working conditions must really suck. Do yourselves a favor: go work for another newspaper, you deserve better!
The President, Mrs. Marie-Chantale Marceau, and the Secretary, Stefan Jetchick
[Please see French side for the Word of thanks from Mrs. Marceau]
If you feel like thanking us in return for what we did, you are welcome! But don't forget to promote the Life Vigil that will be held 2010-November-27. Indeed, Pope Benedict XVI will participate in a vigil of prayer for life, and he encourages all the Bishops of the world to do the same in their respective dioceses.
for life (on the Quebec Life Coalition site)
Vigil for life (on the USA Conference of Catholic Bishops)